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Colleagues--

I need your advice on a problem I have encountered with our project to
convert and encode our finding aids.

None of our 3,000+ finding aids are available in electronic form. I have
received a grant which I hope can kill several birds with one stone. My
goals for the project are: 1) convert the finding aids into electronic
form, 2) acquire an electronic text version (ASCII or something else
that I can manipulate in a word processing software (MS WORD) and an
HTML writer/editor (Netscape Composer)), and 3) acquire an EAD-encoded
version.

We have hired Apex (as we are an RLG member) to convert and encode the
finding aids. We plan to send the EAD versions to Archival Resources.
Because I want more flexibility for future uses of the finidng aids
(whatever they later may be given advances in technology), I would like
to maintain locally a text version (which for now could be manipulated
using MS WORD). Because Archival Resources is available only
fee-for-service, and I don't have the technical support necessary to
maintain SGML documents, I am also planning on maintaining at our WEB
site an HTML encoded version meeting our specifications for structure,
etc.

Here is the problem. Apex has provided me with a first batch of one
hundred EAD encoded finding aids. I had hoped to be able to use the
encoded versions in other ways by stripping them of the coding BUT alas,
with most grand ideas, I have been unsuccessful! Of course, for more
money (which I'd like to spend on other issues), I am sure Apex would be
happy to resolve this matter for me. Before pursuing this option with
the remaining 2,900 finding aids, however, I wanted to know if  there
was a  "de-babble-izer" that I could purchase to magically remove the
encoding.

I am happy to pay the vendor for the deliverables I need but I wanted to
check with you all first! I look forward to hearing from you.

David
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

David de Lorenzo                       201 West Monument Street
Library Director                       Baltimore, MD 21201-4674
Maryland Historical Society            (410) 685-3750 Ext. 309
Library of Maryland History            FAX: (410) 385-2105
                        http://www.mdhs.org